How to overcome this petty uniformed busy-bodyism plague? One answer is never to put a short man in a uniform. That’s an old maxim, borne out by the oft observed fact of so many of history’s notorious dictators being short.Sir Bob's right about the factual Bryce Wilkinson. I'm not sure he's right about the counterfactual Bryce Wilkinson. Those who seek a uniform because they're compensating for something differ from those who have the uniform thrust upon them.
Some years back as guest-speaker at the Police school passing out dinner I remarked to the Commissioner about some conspicuously short graduates, this leading to an angry outburst about bloody equal rights nonsense. He was right of course as any run-in I’ve ever had with the police has invariably featured a very short copper. Think of American police TV comedies over the past 50 years. Without exception, they featured a comical very short, swaggering policeman acting the tough guy.
When in uniform ...
I know lots of talented and excellent company short blokes but have no doubt what would happen if you banged them in a uniform. Take respected, popular economist and occasional NBR contributor Bryce Wilkinson, who’s very short and seemingly perpetually happy. Subject him to a flogging and he’d laugh throughout and thank you afterwards, such is his benevolent outlook on humankind. But put him in a uniform and it’s odds on he, Jekyll and Hyde like, would transform into a raging, trouble-seeking wild beast.